July 20, 2018

Airbnb Is Partnering With Century 21 To Combat Regulations

All around the world, anti-Airbnb legislation has cracked down on short-term and vacation rental property owners. Hosts in Paris, one of Airbnb’s largest markets, must now register with the local government and cannot rent for more than four months each year. In Japan, the government passed a law that suddenly required all hosts to register, which forced Airbnb to cancel about 80% of their bookings overnight.

Airbnb recently received criticism on their inability to counterbalance the attacks from the hotel industry, but it seems that they had a plan in place to disrupt the hotel industry’s tactics once again: in June, they announced a partnership with Century 21. By partnering with the real estate industry, Airbnb is set to redefine the industry again.

Century 21 is the first real estate giant to join in by helping tenants and landlords broker agreements and add clauses in their lease contracts that allow subletting for the purposes of listing on Airbnb. As subletting is legal in France as long as there is written agreement from the owner, this will greatly help prospective hosts navigate the complicated Parisian permit process. All tenants who have rental contracts with Century 21 in Paris now have the right to seek this lease clause.

If this partnership works out, Airbnb will have a powerful ally in a booming market that has been suppressed by market powerhouses lobbying local governments to make it difficult for Airbnb to gain a foothold in traditionally popular areas. Previously, Airbnb mainly relied heavily on local hosts to launch a counter-campaign in their defense by promoting company practices, gaining support for petitions, and putting their own kind of pressure on local lawmakers. As the hotel industry started to force upon property owners restrictive vacation rental policies, using the influence of local hosts stopped being such an effective argument to counterbalance the dark money behind the anti-Airbnb campaigns.

Airbnb is also working on other test pilot programs much like the one in France which aims to incentivize both land developers and property owners in a variety of markets globally. Much like the 2016 Airbnb Friendly Building Program, about tens of thousands of U.S. landlords currently use Airbnb to sublet for tenants, allowing them to receive up to 15% of the profits from the host.

In the last year, Airbnb also began to work directly with real estate development companies which branded apartments as Airbnb short-term rentals. This latest venture with Century 21 shows that Airbnb believes their previous experiments to be successful enough to try to expand beyond of U.S. borders. Their choice of market is particularly interesting since Paris has enacted one of the most strict set of restrictions in Airbnb’s major European market. It will be the city’s reaction to this newest change that sets an official tone for how other Airbnb will work with real estate companies in other cities moving forward.

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